High risk drivers in the Buckeye State who can’t find an insurer to cover them in the standard voluntary market can seek an alternative like the Ohio Automobile Insurance Plan (OAIP) that will provide them with auto insurance. However, a policy obtained through the OAIP will cost significantly more than an identical policy you find directly with any given insurance company. As soon as you've built a better driving record, go back to the regular market for better auto insurance rates in Ohio.
What is the Ohio Automobile Insurance Plan (OAIP)?
The Ohio Automobile Insurance Plan allocates high risk drivers, who have been unable to find an insurer willing to cover them in the voluntary market, to an auto insurance carrier. It's a means of enabling all drivers to meet Ohio's auto insurance requirements. OAIP is a last resort for motorists, and facilitates insurance for thousands of high risk drivers every year.
Motorists cannot directly submit an application to the OAIP. They must first speak to an Ohio insurance agent who can submit an application on their behalf. When your application is accepted to the Ohio Automobile Insurance Plan, they are placed in a residual pool, and then assigned to an insurance company. Every insurer authorized to write auto insurance in Ohio must participate in the OAIP and provide coverage to a certain number of motorists in the residual pool based on their market share. For example, State Farm currently writes 19% of the Ohio auto insurance market, which means that they'd be responsible for insuring 19% of the applicants coming in through the OAIP.
To be eligible for insurance through the OAIP, you must certify that you have tried and failed to find auto insurance in the voluntary market in Ohio, or that you have been unable to find auto insurance with rates lower than those offered under the OAIP, within 60 days prior to submitting the application. You must also certify that you are providing complete and accurate information on the application.
You could be ineligible for insurance through the OAIP if:
- You don’t have a valid driver’s license. However, if your license has been suspended or revoked and can be restored by filing a proof of financial responsibility, you can still apply to the OAIP.
- You don’t pay your auto insurance premiums on time.
- The condition of your car is so poor that it is considered a public safety hazard. (If it is unsafe, an insurance company may pay for repairs to bring it up to par.)
You can’t get physical damage insurance for your car if:
- It’s an antique (older than 25 years).
- It’s a brand new car costing more than $25,000.
- You don’t bring your car to be inspected by an insurance representative upon request.
Once you are assigned an insurer, you will be covered for at least three years. If, during that time, you find an insurer in the voluntary market, you can cancel your OAIP policy. However, your OAIP insurer will keep some or all of the premiums you have paid, depending on the policy. At the end of the three years, if you are still unable to find coverage in the voluntary market, you can reenter the OAIP residual pool. According to Ohio law, you will be assigned to the same company. Another possibility is that your current OIAP insurer could rewrite your policy in the voluntary market after the three years are over. For example, if State Farm is your assigned insurer through OAIP for those 3 years, and you have been evaluated as a safer driver, then State Farm could underwrite you outside of the OAIP program.
Because high risk drivers are more likely to incur losses and expenses, rates written for those who enter the residual pool in the OAIP tend to be significantly higher than the same policies in the voluntary market. If you do find insurance through OAIP, it’s best to keep working to improve your driving record so that you may find coverage in the voluntary market as soon as possible.
Your assigned insurer must provide you with the minimum liability coverages as required by Ohio law. Additionally, your assigned insurer must offer you the option of purchasing higher amounts of coverage than the minimum. Read your policy carefully, because some policies cover you only if the “named insured” is driving the car. If you allow other people to drive your car, make sure they are properly covered with their own insurance.
Ohio requires that all motorists be insured for:
|Ohio Minimum & OAIP Limits|
|Bodily Injury (BI)||$25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident|
|Property Damage (PD)||$25,000|
Your insurer through OAIP may or may not also offer you the opportunity to purchase uninsured motorists insurance. According to Ohio’s Department of Insurance, up to 15% of Ohio drivers are uninsured. This insurance protects you if you are in an accident with an uninsured motorist. Comprehensive and collision coverage are not required by Ohio, but you do have the option of purchasing them through the OAIP. Medical payments coverage, at a limit of $500, $1,000, or $2,000, is also available for a higher premium.
OAIP Premiums and Payments
Premiums will vary for each driver depending on where you live, your age, your sex, your marital status, your driving record, the type of car you drive, your level of coverage, and countless other factors. Ohio has a “Financial Responsibility” law that allows your insurance carrier to cancel your insurance if you don’t pay your premiums on time.
This Financial Responsibility law also requires that you carry proof of insurance with you when you drive. If you are pulled over in traffic by law enforcement, or if you are in an accident, you must produce either your insurance card, or another form of proof of financial responsibility as prescribed by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).
Generally there are 2 payment options for OAIP coverage:
Pay in full: You can pay 100% of the total estimated premium if you choose to pay annually in a lump sum.
Pay minimum deposit: You pay 40% of the premium upfront, and then pay the rest within 30 days.
There is no “installment plan” for paying your Ohio auto insurance premiums.
If your policy through OAIP is cancelled or non-renewed, you can re-apply for insurance through OAIP immediately, as soon as the problem is resolved, like paying an overdue premium. However, if your policy is cancelled due to “bad faith” (e.g. you misrepresented something on your application), you may have to wait 12 months before you can reapply to the OAIP.
How to Get Insurance through OAIP
To get a quote for the OAIP, contact one of the authorized insurance companies at www.insurance.ohio.gov. You can also call the Consumer Services Division at the Ohio Department of Insurance at 1-800-686-1526.